SEAT Leon SC getting down and dirty

  • Winter grime changes the image of our monsoon grey Leon SC
  • Dirt actually makes it more interesting for our man
  • Spring weather suggests its maybe time to clean it again

My very first job in this industry was reporting on aftermarket additions and consumables for cars – a remit that took in car care and cleaning as much as it concentrated on tools, tyres, stereos and sat-navs.

During those years as a consumer reporter I was exposed to a new level of car cleanliness, one that suggests you can’t love your motor unless you’ve given it a once over with at least two buckets, a Dual Action polisher and a tumble-drier full of microfibre cloths. The days of an old bucket of soapy water, a sponge bought from the local garage and a holey chamois are well and truly over.

And to be fair, it’s almost a theory I subscribe to. Look at any car magazine, even the ones that miss out on the glossy paper, and the cars pictured have been cleaned (or at least photoshopped) to within a micrometer of their paint’s life. Basically, as a society we prefer clean cars, they just look better this way.

It’s a camp I’m wholeheartedly pitched in, with so far only one exception; a 4x4 (especially an expensive one) caked head to toe in thick cloying mud, dried onto its flanks and sprayed across the windscreen, is the epitome of cool.

But I’ve just found another car that looks cool when it’s covered in a layer of filth; our SEAT Leon SC.

Seriously.

Our 1.8-litre TSI looks ace when it’s clean, the shine from the optional 18-inch Titanium specification wheels (£700 for the whole pack) complimenting our car’s monsoon grey paint perfectly. With its muscular haunches, angular window-line and Tron-like LED lighting it’s the automotive equivalent of a gold-medal Olympic runner dressed in a sober, but sharp and perfectly tailored, grey suit.

SEAT Leon SC wheel

If it were red, yellow, green, blue or white I’d be out there wiping down its panels with a quick detailer and top-up wax every chance I got. But in grey, as the winter weather gradually began to stick to its sides I realised that RJY looks ace when dirty.

I mean properly dirty though. A small amount of grime and dust just doesn’t cut it, the car needs to be caked in the stuff to appear at its best. Just look at the picture below and try to tell me different.

SEAT Leon SC muddy

Of course I had to wash it for practical reasons, brushing up against the bodywork quickly sullied my Sunday best and unless you used the boot’s internal grab handle to close it your palms soon turned the same colour as the car.

And regardless of what’s happening with the exterior, the cabin had to remain like-new clean; it really is true – in my case at least – that men can live with an untidy house, but their car cabins are generally show-home fresh.

But while the paintwork was getting down and dirty, the good news is the fuel economy was slowly getting up and efficient. Our initial report saw the SC record an average of 34.0mpg, but just 700 miles later that had increased to around 34.5mpg.

SEAT Leon SC headlights

That’s still a fair way short of our previous diesel Leon, but all things considered (the extra performance, better sound and cheaper fuel) it’s still an impressive result. Especially when you consider the performance and handling offered by this car, and just how much I’ve been enjoying it.

In fact our Leon SC is getting so far under my skin that I’m almost ready to break out the grit-guards, wash mitts, microfibre cloths and look out my login information for detailing world.com.

Mileage: 1,538 miles

Economy: 34.5mpg (calculated)